The UK Government’s approach to the Brexit negotiations

As a number of you have contacted me concerning the Brexit talks I thought I would set out the Government’s 12 objectives which the Prime Minister has set out for these negotiations.

Our 12 negotiating objectives

1.Certainty: we will deliver certainty wherever possible so that everybody has as much clarity as we can provide. The Great Repeal Bill will also provide legal certainty by converting the body of existing EU law into UK law, wherever practical and appropriate, at the point of exit. And the Government will put the final deal that is agreed between the UK and the EU to a vote in both Houses of Parliament before it comes into force.

2. Control of our own laws: we will bring an end to the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice in Britain. Leaving the European Union will mean that our laws will be made in Westminster, Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast. And those laws will be interpreted by judges not in Luxembourg, but in courts across this country.

3. Strengthen the Union: we must strengthen the precious Union between the four nations of the United Kingdom. We will work very carefully to ensure that – as powers are repatriated back to Britain – the right powers are returned to Westminster and the right powers are passed to the devolved administrations. It is the expectation of the Government that the Devolved Administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will see a significant increase in their decision-making power as a result of this process.

4. Maintain the Common Travel Area with Ireland and not return to the borders of the past.

5. Control of immigration: the message from the public before and during the referendum campaign was clear: Brexit must mean control of the number of people who come to Britain from Europe. We will continue to attract the brightest and the best to work or study in Britain but there must be control.

6. Rights for EU nationals in Britain, and British nationals in the EU: we should always put our respective citizens first. The PM said in today’s letter there are many citizens of the remaining member states living in the UK and UK citizens living elsewhere in the EU – and we should aim to strike an early agreement about thei rights.

7. Protect workers’ rights: as we translate the body of European law into our domestic regulations, we will ensure that workers’ rights are fully protected and maintained.

8. Free trade with European markets: as a priority we will pursue a bold and ambitious Free Trade Agreement with the European Union. This agreement should allow for the freest possible trade in goods and services between Britain and EU member states. It cannot though mean membership of the EU’s Single Market. That would mean complying with European Court of Justice rulings, free movement and other EU rules and regulations without having a vote on what those rules and regulations are. And because we will no longer be members of the Single Market, we will not be required to contribute huge sums to the EU budget every year. If we contribute to some specific EU programmes that we wish to participate in, it will be for us to decide.

9. New trade agreements with other countries: it is time for Britain to become a global trading nation, striking trade agreements around the world. Through the Common Commercial Policy and the Common External Tariff, full Customs Union membership prevents us from doing this – but we do want to have a customs agreement with the EU and have an open mind on how we achieve this end.

10. The best place for science and innovation: we will continue to collaborate with our European partners on major science, research and technology initiatives.

11. Co-operation in the fight against crime and terrorism: We seek continued cooperation with our European partners in important areas such as crime, terrorism and foreign affairs.

12. A smooth, orderly Brexit: it is our intention to reach an agreement about our future partnership by the time the two-year Article 50 process has concluded, then moving into a phased process of implementation in which Britain, the EU institutions and member states prepare for the new arrangements that will exist between us.